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Insiders Corner

Paterson's Ghost Act Wearing Thin
By The Insider
Apr 30, 2009, 12:53
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The locals were not happy with Governor Paterson and Empire State Development Upstate Chairman Dennis Mullen last night at the international trade reception at the Hyatt Regency. The official stance is that Paterson and ESD invited the 63 government trade representatives to Buffalo for a two day swing to consider the area for future business. However, Paterson showed up for a speech, quick news conference and flew off to Albany.

The lack of face time for the visitors and local dignitaries with the Governor and Mullen caused some embarrassment and anger and had the media scratching their heads. The murmur in the crowd was that Patersonís actions speak much louder than his words and so far he has come up empty.

Paterson has been in the news each night because of his focus on gay marriage and the state public employee layoff situation, but the area businessmen were hoping for him to committ more of his time yesterday to promote local trade. Paterson came and went so fast that it was perceived by many as down right disrespectful.

Paterson can be excused a bit when it comes to his lack of comfort among crowds because of his limited sight. Unable to recognize individuals can make glad handing cumbersome, but Paterson should be more sensitive to how his brief appearances play in the room.

Dennis Mullenís lack of visibility in Buffalo since being named upstate director of ESD is another issue. Paterson removed upstate economic czar Daniel Gundersen last year because he said an upstate and downstate director made no sense and was not productive. Paterson then named M&T Chairman of the Board Bob Wilmers as the new Director of ESD and Mullen as his upstate guy. That should have given Buffalo two voices in the process, but it hasnít worked out that way.

Wilmers has been invisible locally and Mullen conducts most of his business out of Rochester where he lives. For Mullen not to spend the night in town with the trade visitors did not go over well at all at the Hyatt. Many were heard saying that ironically the often maligned Gundersen actually had much more of a presence in western New York than either Wilmers or Mullen, who both hail from the region.

Switching gears, Matt Spina of the News wrote in the paper today about Chris Collins pressuring the CVB. Spina hinted at whatís happening and may not have it nailed down yet, but the truth is CVB Director Rich Geiger has already offered to resign to appease Collins.

The County Executive has had a bullís-eye painted on Geigerís back for the past year and wants him out badly. The CVB board has stood behind Rich, but he has grown tired of the game and is ready to fall on his sword. The word is Geiger has a great lead on a position out of town and should be gone before the end of the year.

Yesterday we wrote that Joe Mesi is considering not taking the senate majority position. We were told last night that after giving it consideration, Mesi will take the state position and ride out the flack.

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